RAM Khanal added another chapter to his remarkable life story from Bhutanese refugee when crowned Albury's Young Citizen of the Year on Tuesday.
He spent the first 16 years of his life living under extreme hardship in a refugee camp in eastern Nepal before arriving in Albury with his family in 2009.
The 22-year-old immediately broke down the initial language barrier to become dux of Murray High School before graduating with a bachelor of medical science from Australian National University in Canberra.
He paid tribute to his English teacher Kerrie O’Connell for steering him on a successful path.
Mr Khanal has since become a leader within the Albury Bhutanese community, from arranging sporting competitions to liaising with service providers and assisting other Bhutanese refugees settle into Australia.
He is presently working as a learning support officer at Murray High School and hopes to further his medical studies.
“I started with nothing in the Albury community and the community gave me so much.
“I felt completely out of place, didn't know anything, couldn't speak with anyone.
”It was a completely new world to me.
“I felt as though I had an obligation to give back to the community.”
Mr Khanal has become an Australian citizen and showed in accepting his award he had picked up on some of the more unique aspects of his adopted country's language.
“I hope you have a cracker of a day,” he said.
The other award nomination, Albury youth mayor Ben Walther, was also presented with an award at the discretion of mayor Henk van de Ven.
The James Fallon High School student has assisted in raising $3000 for Carevan and is passionate about youth mental health issues.
He also volunteers at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre and coaches junior basketball teams.
I started with nothing in the Albury community and the community gave me so muchRam Khanal